I am delighted to announce that my old friend Patsy Sorenti nee Langley, Secretary of the British Psychic and Occult Society, is planning the release of two new books: one is to be a new edition of her current book The Highgate Vampire Casebook due for release later this year and the other (presently in its planning stages), is a volume on Robin Hood’s alleged grave at Kirklees in West Yorkshire and its associations with a . . . vampire. (Yes, don’t laugh . . . a vampire!!)
Patsy is determined to uncover the truth behind these vampire stories surrounding the grave, which have startled the local populace and served to attract sensation- seekers from all across the country. At least, such declarations of a ‘vampire’ have and certainly intrigued the provincial Press – and in the past Uri Geller – although I wouldn’t go as far as to say that Patsy believes the genuine psychic entity, or ‘ghost’, reported at the grave-site over the years has anything to do with a vampire!
Patsy’s ‘Vampire Casebook’ hit the shelves in 2005 and caused considerable dissention then in certain quarters from a few people declaring that the ghost reported at London’s Highgate Cemetery was a bona fide vampire, complete with fangs and glaring eyes which had gone on a spree of the local area seducing young maidens in their beds and turning them into ‘vampires’ as well. At least, so such claims were circulated at the time, although they caused more amusement than any desire to give them serious credibility.
This vampire story really began in the late 1960s/early 1970s following a spate of Hammer and Amicus movies which had been filmed on location in Highgate Cemetery. The cemetery with its crumbling vaults and mausoleums provided an excellent background to obtain the required atmospheric effects.
These films (which included Taste the Blood of Dracula, Tales from the Crypt and Dracula has Risen from the Grave) would – in fact did – give visitors to the cemetery (not to mention the public at large) an easy impression that a tall ghostly figure that had been reported at Highgate Cemetery for many decades was really a ‘vampire’!
This almost certainly encouraged one particular individual who released a vanity press publication in 1985 supporting this view. But this person went much further . . . he claimed in this book to have actually located the ‘vampire’ in the Wace family vault in Highgate Cemetery. Forcing open the door, there the creature lay sleeping in its coffin . . . its eyes horribly glazed and its mouth and fangs caked with congealed blood (presumably from its previous night’s feast!). He then claims to have performed an exorcism in the tomb using garlic bulbs, crucifixes and holy water before finally sealing up the door using ‘garlic impregnated cement’. But the vampire somehow later escaped (taking its coffin with it), and made its home in the cellars of a deserted manor house in Crouch End, a mile or so away from Highgate Cemetery. But this person tracked it down to its new lair then, with unnamed ‘assistants’, they dragged the coffin out into the overgrown back garden and staked the vampire through its heart, before incinerating the whole caboodle with a can of petrol – or so he writes!
In her current edition of the Casebook, Patsy explains how she first located the Wace family vault to check out its history but as its incumbents apparently had no living relatives (as they were interred at the end of the Victorian era, perhaps this is not so surprising), this was no easy task. But undeterred, she has managed to trace modern descendants of the Wace family and entered into correspondence with them. I have not yet seen this correspondence but I presume they would have assured her that there were never any ‘vampires’ in the family line and that nobody was ever authorised to enter the family vault other than the legitimate authorities and neither was permission ever sought by anyone else wishing to do so.
All these revelations – and more about Highgate Cemetery and its ‘vampire’ – are to be included in the next edition of Patsy’s book; but we will have to see exactly what these entail when the book comes out later this year.
Next on Patsy’s agenda will be the ‘vampire saga’ at Robin Hood’s Grave. She has already accumulated a vast amount of research material for that which explodes the vampire mythos but leaves in its wake the possibility that something very sinister lurks in the secluded woodland. Personally I can’t wait for this one.
David Farrant, President, BPOS.
NB For anyone interested in more background on Robin Hoods haunted grave, you might be interested in watching a film made by the BPOS in 2013 For the record, in 2003 I was elected Patron of the Yorkshire Robin Hood Society (which is discussed briefly in the film) who investigated this case at the time.
The link is . . . https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E3IQbA9hUoc
Have fun everyone . . .